We’re six months into this whole parenting thing. Some days I feel like I’m rockin it, and other days I feel like a total failure. There really is nothing that can prepare you for the journey. I got a lot of advice before we had Malachi. Some good, some bad. And some unwanted. But there were some things no one told me about, warned me about, that I wish I would have heard.
Sometimes you hear things, but it doesn’t really mean anything until you actually experience it. Parenting is definitely one of those things. Even though I may not have thought much about these things in the moment, it would have been nice to be able to look back and realize that what I’m thinking or feeling is normal, that I’m not the only one.
1. You will live the first few weeks in survival mode. Only the absolute necessities will get done. And that’s okay. But in all chaos and sleeplessness don’t neglect your time with God. I’ve learned that my prayer life is going to look much different than it did before. But without it, I can’t be the mom and wife I need to be.
2. You might have little to no routine for months. I thrive on routine. I need consistency. The only thing consistent with Malachi the first few months was that he was inconsistent. I kept hearing that we needed to establish a routine with him. How the heck am I supposed to establish a routine when he eats and sleeps at different times everyday? At six months his routine still isn’t solid, mostly because his sleep pattern is so irregular.
Which leads me to number three. Not all babies sleep well. When I think about a baby, I think about them sleeping a lot. I knew he would wake up often during the night, and that it could be a while before he slept through the night. But I didn’t know naps could be so short. Malachi is a cat napper. Most naps you could put on a timer, and at exactly 45 minutes he will wake up. He struggled for a long time to learn to put himself to sleep. On occasion he will nap for an hour or even two, and every great once in a while it will be even longer. But that isn’t something I can ever, and I mean ever, count on.
4. I’ll never be “normal” again. I had some intense baby blues for the three weeks after he was born. The mood swings were like nothing I’d ever experienced. All I can say is poor Joel. But things did get better after that. Then in the last month I’ve had another big change in my hormones. And with that I’ve realized that I now have a new normal. I’m a different person now. I’m a mom now. My priorities, thoughts, and life are different. I can’t expect to be the same person I was before I was pregnant.
5. The biggest thing I wish someone would have told me though is how hard this would be on my marriage. You’re both constantly exhausted, and over time that really wears on you. I know I can’t have a conversation with Joel in the middle of the night because everything that’s said comes out wrong. It can become easy to take everything out on the other person.
You don’t keep score when you’re on the same team. It isn’t about who changed the last dirty diaper, or who did more work that day. It’s a team effort. Malachi is both of our responsibility. We’ve been really good about rotating certain duties, and giving the other one a break when they need it. But I have felt that bitter competitiveness try to creep in. It’s important to appreciate all that your spouse does do.
You have to make date night a priority. Get out of the house without your baby. Even though Malachi is the most important thing in our lives, our marriage can’t take a backseat to it all. It’s hard to parent together, when you aren’t on the same page. Take time to get away and spend it with your spouse.
The last six months have been hard. But I know he will only be little for so long. In the grand scheme of his life, this really is such a short time. And I wouldn’t trade a moment of it for the world.